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El Dorado County, CA November 6, 2001 Election
Smart Voter


By Thomas Robert "Bob" Fortune

Candidate for Board Member; El Dorado Irrigation District; Division 4

This information is provided by the candidate
On Oct.15 the Mt. Democrat published the answers reportedly given by the candidates to 8 questions. If you read that articles, you did not read my answers. Here are my eight answers.
1. Why are you running for EID and what are your qualifications?

My answer: Retirement is not what I really want of life. My career provided rewards not possible in retirement. I am a retired aerospace engineer and manager. My specialty has been taking failing programs to success. Normally failing programs are caused by people problems. I believe that the same is true at EID. I have developed requirements for reorganization of EID, and revision of the Board relationship with EID management that, if followed, will go a long way towards solving EID problems, employee morale, and public image.

2. How would you improve employee morale?

My answer: In addition to the answer in number 1, I believe that discontinuing the talk and consideration of privatization will also improve employee morale. Board attempts to privatize EID have been a major factor in demoralization and loss of EID employees. Privatization is a bad idea. A private contractor may reduce rates over the short term, but ultimately the private contractor will concentrate on their profits rather than replacement of aging systems. When the time comes to replace the aging systems, new bonds or taxes will be required and the ratepayers will be stuck again.

3. What role should EID play in SMUD relicensing?

My answer: I was told that SMUD has no consumptive water rights by two of the County Supervisors. If true, I don't see what EID can do. If on the other hand, rights to the water flowing through the El Dorado County hydroelectric facilities belong to some other municipal agency, and those rights are being used to supply water to customers, then it will be nearly impossible to recover any part of the water. Litigation would only result in a boon to lawyers and a needless expense to EID ratepayers. Note: after the Mountain Democrat interview I learned that the City of Sacramento was given these water rights even though the original SMUD licensing required SMUD to share the water with El Dorado County. Unfortunately, the time to do something about that broken contract has long past, but it is worthwhile for EID to look into any possibilities offered by the SMUD relicensing process.

4. Should Sam Neasham continue to run Project 184?

My answer: No board attorney should be allowed to manage any part of EID.

5. Should EID hire a full time attorney?

My answer: At least one full time salaried attorney should be hired as staff to the General Manager. This same attorney might be used to answer legal questions during Board meetings. When an attorney works on an hourly basis, there is a temptation to create problems in order to add to his or her workload and paycheck. Continued use of the current Board lawyer for ongoing litigations is a question that remains to be evaluated by the new Board.

6. Should Measure K be implemented, and if so how?

My answer: As far as I can tell, there nothing illegal about Measure K. It is the will of the El Dorado county voters and must be implemented. I do have some concerns about whether the electorate knows enough about the needs and reasons for new EID financing to make informed votes on an advisory ballot measure, as required by Measure K. On the other hand, Measure K may slow down a Board that is all to willing to overload the ratepayers with bond debts.

7. Should EID obtain more water supplies or should it be concerned about growth?

My answer: I am a slow, sensible growth candidate. Many of EID current problems will be difficult to solve with unchecked growth. New sources of water are desirable for growth and drought protection, but not that easy to obtain. Additional storage could result in a great deal of money paid by the ratepayers and/or taxpayers. A validated demand must be established in order to fight for new water rights. Plans for future growth do not always provide the needed justification to State and Federal agencies that control all of our water. Growth and the water needed to sustain it are an expensive matter that should not be dumped on the ratepayers. Note: This may be the answer that the Mountain Democrat liked the least.

8. Are there any issues we haven't asked that you think are important to EID?

My answer: Yes, cost accounting and reporting to the Board must be improved to provide real time assessment of project cost v.s. schedule overruns. Tighter controls must be implemented on interdepartmental budget charges in order to obtain a more accurate picture of project costs. EID project leaders must be given more responsibility and control over their projects without micro-management.

______________________________________________________________________________ Answers to the above questions are my best memory of the answers provided to the Mountain Democrat. I did not use the Oct. 15 article as a basis for creating these answers.

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ca/ed Created from information supplied by the candidate: October 30, 2001 21:19
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